A gastronomic blog inspired by:
• Culinary delights of Italy including regional dishes from I Sassi di Matera - my Fatherland
• Hot Latino flavours from Colombia – my Motherland
• Eccentric London, a pool of British & Worldwide fusions – my Hometown
Halloween inspired me to buy an edible pumpkin and actually use it in a recipe. I have always wanted to make a pumpkin pie but never got round to baking one so what better time of year when supermarkets are overflowing with this lovely squash plant. Sweetness and spice and all things nice, this is a beautifully delicious dessert, one that leaves you satisfied! I will definitely be making this again and again and again. Did I mention it was also dairy free..?
Place the chopped pumpkin in a large
saucepan, boil OR steam until soft. Drain then let cool.
Roll out the pastry on a
lightly floured surface and use it to line a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Line
the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins.
Remove the beans and paper and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is slightly golden and biscuit like.
Remove from the oven and
allow to cool slightly.
Increase oven to 200C.
In a food processor puree
the cooled pumpkin. Add the sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, beaten eggs, melted sunflower
spread and almond cream and pulse until well combined. Pour the mixture into
the tart shell and cook for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C.
Continue to bake for 40 mins until the filling has just set.
My "Zia Bruna" (auntie) is renowned for her panzerotti parties in the summer, something I always look forward to every year as they are truly amazing! I have always promised myself that I would try and recreate them back home however, with ingredients being slightly different I have always been worried that they would never come even close so never bothered... until today! The request came from my husband and what with my vegan sister back from Italy I took on the challenge and made two batches... and guess what? They were a hit! I cannot tell you how proud I was with my first attempt.
In a jug mix the water, olive oil, sugar and yeast.
Place the flour in a large bowl or clean work surface then add the liquid slowly while mixing with your hands until dough like then continue to knead for about 15 mins.
Leave/place the dough in a large bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave to pru for approximately an hour in a warm place.
In the meantime grate/dice your chosen cheese then a pinch of salt to the tomatoes.
TIP: Basil is a lovely and aromatic addition to the tomatoes.
Once your dough is ready divide into 14 balls.
Sprinkle plenty flour on the work surface the start to roll each ball to make mini pizza like bases.
Add approx. 1 tbsp of tomato an top with the cheese in the middle of each base leaving at a least two cm border. With a pastry brush wet the borders then fold over to make half moon shapes. Seal the border with a fork.
In a deep fat fryer or a deep pan with plenty of Sunflower Oil fry these little beauties until golden.
Since I realised the amount of sugar in shop bought granolas I have taken a vow to make my own from now on, at least that way I know exactly what's in it and it doesn't feel like I'm crunching my way through pieces of sugar!
You'll need a large container for this batch as it's quite substantial - I love my Kilner cliptop storage jar as it's so versatile and keeps anything I store extremely fresh.
In a Pan melt the coconut oil then combine the orange zest, juice, coconut nectar and vanilla essence - put aside.
Combine all the nuts, seeds, cinnamon and mixed spice then pour over the dry ingredients mixing until everything is coated.
Spread the mixture onto one large baking tray and bake for approximately 12 minutes mixing at half time. Leave in the oven, with the oven turned off and the door open off for about 15 minutes to continue the drying out process - this aids the crunch factor.
Mix in the goji berries or if you prefer, raisins are lovely too.
Serve with yogurt topped with fresh berries or compote, milk or eat it as as snack as I often do when I have a craving for something naughty.
We moved into our new home in February of this year and every month the garden has proved to be a beautiful urban oasis of delightful surprises, from the beautiful flowers and shrubs to many visitors of the wild we never really experienced in our previous home only two miles down the road. The month of August brought to fruition the blackberry... the first lot picked were devoured "au naturel", however I wanted to use the second lot in a recipe although it wasn't enough to make jam or ice-cream so I used then as a hint of berry in some moorish and crumbly oat bites. Ingredients:
200g blackberries (this is all I had, however I should have doubled the amount)
Method: Preheat oven to 160C and line a baking tin with grease-proof paper. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats and sugar. With a wooden spoon mix in the sunflower spread until smooth. Stir in the coconut then set aside 1/4 of the mixture. Mix the eggs into the main mixture until well combined. Fill the baking tray with the mixture spreading the surface until level. Evenly scatter the blackberries on top then add the rest of the mixture with your fingers. Bake for approximately 1 hour until beautifully golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Now stick a brew on and enjoy!
It was my not so baby sister's 22nd birthday last week so I decided to surprise her with a favourite tipple of hers but in cake form... aahh the wonderfully English G&T; my go-to refreshment on a lovely night out (and in!).
Now Eat/Drink Responsibly Folks!
200g unsalted butter softened
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
4 tbsp tonic water
2tbsp gin of your choosing
For the frosting:
250g unsalted butter softened
500g icing sugar
Juice of one lime
5tbsp gin of your choosing
Pre-heat the oven to 180c and line/grease two 20cm cake tins
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and smooth - ensure to use a spatula to mix in the mixture stuck to the side of the bowl.
Add the beaten eggs to the mixture very slowly while continuing to whisk.
Sift in the flour and fold careful into the mixture - stir in the tonic water.
Divide the well combined cake mix into the two baking tins and bake for approximately 25 mins until golden, springy and a toothpick comes out clean.
Once able remove the cakes from the tins and place on cooling rack to cool thoroughly - pierce the cake with a toothpick a dozen times and brush the gin on.
For the frosting: whisk the softened butter and icing sugar until well combined then squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and add the gin into the icing - continue to whisk until light and fluffy.
Spoon and smooth on the buttercream to the chosen bottom half then carefully place the top layer on. Use the remaining cake frosting for the overall cake and decorate as you please.
Inspired my a cake decorating course I did at the beginning of the year with the lovely Natalie at Rock Bakehouse I used sugar paste and made cute flowers and leaves for mine topping the real cake with a decorated polystyrene one for extra height and wow-factor.
However, you could always pipe on the frosting and add a few slices of lime and zest to decorate as per the sneaky little cupcake I made taking from the cake mixture for my husband and I to enjoy the next day.
This was a dish I prepared during one of those evenings when the thought of rustling up a meal seemed a total chore and the prospect of ordering a takeaway was the most tempting of options but the willpower remained strong (thank goodness!). I know what my husband would reply to "here you go darling, have your tasteless bowl of leaves after a hard days work" and it's not suitable for this respectable food blog although is probably grounds for separation or divorce somewhere in the world I'm sure! *wink wink* The simple green leafy salad can be so boring more times than not so here is something with masses of flavour, oh and before I forget you'll need a spiraliser for it.
Ingredients: (Serves Two)
2 courgettes, spiralised
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 tin of sweetcorn (130g)
1 handful of cooked tenderstem broccoli
2 handfuls of cashew nuts
2 tsp. smoked paprika
pinch of salt
2 tbsp. tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp maple syrup
Mix the spiralised courgettes, sweetcorn, cooked tenderstems and sliced avocado in a bowl.
Toast the cashew nuts in a pan for approximately 5 minutes with a sprinkling of salt, black pepper and smoked paprika - stirring often. Add to the salad.
Combine the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, tamari and maple syrup - I like to use an empty jam jar so to shake vigorously however a glass and teaspoon will do - now dress the salad. Voila!
I love an impromptu, never before mastered recipe in my repertoire - cobbled together from what the contents of the kitchen cupboards have to offer, certainly challenging my culinary creativity. Tangy, tasty, delicious and leaving you wanting more... this is what food is all about and best of all it's GLUTEN & DAIRY FREE so no need to feel too guilty if an extra forkful is devoured!
Ingredients: (Serves Two)
200g Gluten Free Spaghetti (I use Garofalo, it has by far the best bite)
4 tbsp. Dairy free sunflower/soya spread
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 heaped tbsp. small capers
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil for the spaghetti and cook as normal for approximately 8-9 minutes stirring occasionally.
Pat scallops dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper - if you wanted to add a little heat to the dish a pinch of cayenne pepper at this stage will work a treat.
Melt 1 tbsp. dairy free sunflower/soya spread in a frying pan over high heat. Add scallops, and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer scallops to a small bowl, cover, and keep warm.
Melt the remaining 3 tbspdairy free sunflower/soya spread in the frying pan. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute or until the dairy free spread turns slightly golden brown but be very careful not to burn the garlic.
Remove the frying pan from the heat; stir in the lemon juice, capers and parsley.
Drain the spaghetti add to the sauce, plate up and garnish with the scallops spooning over the left over sauce and serve.